At the time of this writing, I am sitting solo in JFK eating a salad, trying not think about how long this tuna salad had been sitting out before it reached my mouth and like, what the strategy is if you get food poisoning on a plane. In an attempt to distract myself, here's another installment of Keeping Tabs.
From my browser to yours, here are the tabs that caught my eye this month:
An HTML Rube Goldberg machine! I honestly did not know that I wanted to see this as badly as I did, but 5+ refreshes later here we are. It's just sooo cool. I'm not recommending you also sit there and refresh indefinitely but I'm also not not suggesting that.
Microsoft published a list of the most used CSS properties on the web (minus a few important browsers, because hey if anyone knows about the differences in cross browser compatibility boy oh boy would it be Microsoft). Anyway it's pretty neat to look through, you can read their report here and the underlying code on Github here.
So hey, we all use the internet, and we all see pretty shitty implementations of things that are ubiquitous, like animations, menus, and icons. Thankfully there are now a lot of resources to find better implementations of these things. Two recommended readings/viewings are Sarah Drasner's presentation for GenerateNY on creating functional animations, and Codepen's collection of common design patterns on the web. Sometimes [most of the time] the expected option is the best option.
With CSS the going advice has always been, "Hack it 'til you make it." As much as we complain....it can actually lead to some creative things. And although this is usually the exact thing that makes it so terrible, it can also be one of the reasons it's fun to work with. For example, did you know CSS has a counter-increment functionality? Una Kravets has a great tutorial on what it is and how to exploit it to build pure CSS games. Read it so you too can impress your friends and build fun things like an off-brand Buzzfeed quiz that tells you how Kanye you are.
The New York Times did a really interesting write-up of Minecraft's impact, and how it's kind of accidentally teaching kids computational thinking. At the very least, I think we can all agree it's more effective than the ol' chalkboard lectures of days past. Read the piece (complete with illustrations by Christoph Niemann) here.
One of the hardest things when you're a beginner programmer is learning how to break down a problem in order to make progress. It almost seems counterintuitive, but in order to make progress, you need to forget about the assignment as a whole, and focus instead on the smallest solvable pieces of the problem, and build up from there. It turns out that the process of relearning things you used to know when dementia sets in is remarkably similar. This American Life has a story about one man's process of relearning how to draw a clock by breaking it down into the smallest pieces that make sense to him, and learning something about the bigger picture along the way. Listen here.
A quick reminder to beware your defaults, lest you send the internet to an unsuspecting family's farm in Kansas.
Dig deep into your emotions.